Updated March. 08, 2011 10:30
The New York City Marathon, one of the most famous and popular races in the world, attracts more than 45,000 runners in the masters category, including 20,000 foreigners.
A U.S. economic think tank says the marathon generates economic effects worth an annual 200 million U.S. dollars, including revenues from flights, hotels, restaurants, souvenir sales and entry fees.
In Korea, the 82nd Dong-A Seoul International Marathon, jointly sponsored by Korea Association of Athletics Federations and The Dong-A Ilbo and slated to open March 20, is also hoped to reap huge economic effects.
The number of foreign competitors has topped 1,000 for the first time at 1,147 from 35 countries, including 451 from Japan, 265 from the U.S., and 207 from China. Though the number of foreigners remains small compared to that of the New York race, the Dong-A marathon spanning the Korean capital of Seoul has started to earn global recognition.
The Dong-A marathon is the best known race of its kind in Korea. Starting in 1931, it was a catalyst for easing the Korean peoples anger and sorrow stemming from the yoke of Japanese colonial rule, and has conveyed the dreams and a message of hope to the Korean people.
The race is also called the birthplace of Korean marathon records as 10 of the countrys 28 records in the sport were set there. The 1994 event also introduced for the first time in Korea the masters category that allowed amateurs to join, spearheading a grassroots boom in the marathon.
The events venue was permanently changed to Seoul in 2000 from Seoul, Chuncheon in Gangwon Province and Gyeongju in South Gyeongsang Province. The competition has also invited world-renowned runners with times in the range of two hours and four or five minutes, including those from Kenya and Ethiopia.
Sylvester Teimet of Kenya set a record for Korean marathons last year with a winning time of 2:06:49. The Dong-A Marathon received Koreas first gold label certificate from the International Association of Athletics Federations last year and will be gold label this year, too.
With more than 1,000 foreign runners, the marathon is hoped to join the ranks of prominent global marathons. Marketing efforts will seek to raise the number of foreign runners in the masters category.